I know this has been endlessly debated, but I want some opinions/experience on the use of heat pads, lights, or other forms of heating that people have created. I am currently using an oil filled radiant heater.
The thing about heating is that with any heating device, it's so easy to overdo it and kill the animals. Subsequently, many of us don't use any supplemental heat at all. If the temps in your animal area reach at least the 70's during the day and don't drop below the low 60's at night, you're PROBABLY OK, at least for tarantulas.
If you decide you do need to heat, those oil filled radiators seem to be a good way to go, provided that you're not in a really small room (like a closet) where it could overheat (I've heard horror stories).
I currently don't use any extra heat, my animal room (basement) hovers at around 72-75 degrees in the winter, and 85-90 in the summer...beautiful ambiant temps!!! In times past, however, I've used low watt (25 or less) red "party" bulbs for a little extra heat...be careful with bulbs though, used incorrectly than can easily dessicate the cage and cook the tarantula...they're probably best used in situations where the cage is large enough so the spider has plenty of room to get away from the heat if it wants.
I've also used flexi-watt heat tape. This stuff comes in rolls and is sold by the foot by reptile supply dealers. It's much more economical than traditional reptile heat pads (which are usually just pre-wired and marked up heat tape anyway). The problem is you must wire it yourself, so be careful! The good thing about it is you decide how long of a strip you want...if you want to heat a whole row of cages, cut a section to the desired length. Most keeprers recommend mounting the tape on the side (or on the wall behind the cage) rather than underneath. Again, as with the bulb, these can also get too hot, so be sure to allow room for the tarantula to move away from it. I usually use a table lamp dimmer ($12 from Lowes) to contol the heat output of the tape and bulbs.
ive got a heatmat taped to the side of my glass tank. the people i bought it from said it would be ok to leave as it is, but when its been on for a while the glass starts to get quite hot, it doesn't feel really hot but would the tarantula be ok if it tried to climb the warm glass?
eventually you will here the sound of it cracking,
as for ambient heat, i use 2 infrared heat lamps pointed over a wide area to cover my T's i like to keep an average of 77 in my T aquariums, before i installed, i was using heat pads that kept cracking. my aquariums. Unfortunetly, it gets really cold in my house, somedays it won't be above 65, even with the thermostat turned up, heating my T's is a nessecity for me.
I keep all of my arachnids in my bedroom and they are all against one wall. THere is an electric baseboard heater that I turn on in the winter and that is plenty warm enough for my spiders and i to be happy. In summer it gets so hot here sometimes I think it is gonna dry out my spiders.
When I use heat pads, I place them under one end of the enclosure. I then elevate that end about half an inch. This allows heat to escape. You don't want that area to become extremely hot. You can also use a timer. I've also used esu red heat bulbs. Just make sure you pick the right wattage for your needs.
WHEN WILL THERE BE PEACE ON EARTH?
ANSWER: WHEN THE EARTH FALLS TO PIECES!!"